If there is one thing that has had a massive impact on this generation of consoles, games, gaming in general and the people who play them, it's social media. With websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and let's be honest, millions of other web portals becoming a 2nd play ground for gamers to share their experiences, knowledge and troll each other till the end of time.
So with this ever growing aspect of a gamers life, we need new and innovative tools that can help us not only enjoy our experiences but also share them with other people. It doesn't take long to find millions of videos on YouTube from everyday gamers just sharing their game in a "lets play" video, or channels like Mechanima who feature all kinds of gaming based videos, but the fundamental factor in all these videos is that you need to record the footage first.
Now you can't just hook up your Xbox to YouTube and rip the video stream direct, at least not yet you can't anyway. So what we need are 3rd party video throughput devices like the one I have hear today. What this allows us to do is connect our console such as a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 to the device, which then feeds the video via USB to your PC and the included capture software allowing you to take screenshots, record video, stream over twitch.tv and more.
The Roxio Game Capture HD PRO has already proven its self popular with gamers around the world and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. As you can see the HD Pro comes neatly packed in a fairly compact retail box.
Around the back of the box you can see a quick diagram of how the device can be configured into your gaming setup connection your console, tv and computer via the Roxio capture device which act's as a hub for your connections. There's also a run down of the features of the HD Pro:
• Capture gaming footage in HD
• Stream gameplay and commentary live to TwitchTV
• Edit H/264 videos
• Share videos with on click to YouTube or FaceBook
• Easy set-up between your consoles, TV and PC.
The device its self its really compact, small enough in fact that it is easily transported with you, really handy if your a gamer on the go or attend various LAN gaming events where you may wish to stream your footage. It's also pretty stylish, or at least it is as stylish as a small plastic box can be.
On one side of the Roxio Game Capture HD PRO we have all the inputs you need for a games console, with HDMI in and Y/Pb/Pr or RGB component video input and L/R Aux audio line in. The only thing that is worth pointing out here is that the Roxio doesn't come with all the cables you need to hook up your console, but its only a couple of quid to pick up what you need online and its better this way as you can ensure you get the best cable for your console or requirements, not just some cheap one that they bundled with the hardware.
Around the other side of the device we have the outputs, from left to right we have USB out, L/R Audio Out and Y/Pb/Pr (RGB) Video Out and HDMI Out.
The way this works is you plug your console into the inputs on one side of the device, then you hook up either component or a HDMI cable from the other side of your device to your TV. This signal passes through and allows you to use your console as normal on your TV without any issues. But the added bonus is that you can hook up the included USB cable to the device, connect this to your PC and by using the included software you can capture the same footage that you can see on your TV.
One immediate bonus of the Roxio over some similar devices I have seen is that it doesn't require a power adapter this makes setup a bit easier and saves the need for an extra plug socket.
Other than the USB cable there is little else in the box, although Roxio do include their own in house software on DVD and a simple setup manual, although its clearly labeled "input" and "output" on the device, so you really shouldn't need to look at a "how to" when setting it up.
From getting the system out of the box, plugged in and running took a few minutes at the most, then another 5 minutes to install the software on my PC and have everything in its final stages ready actually begin video capture. It's really straightforward and you really don't need to be a video editing pro to figure out how to get it up and running.
Minimum System Requirements:
• Microsoft Windows 8, 7, Vista SP2, XP (SP3 for 32 bit & SP2 for 64 bit)
• Dual Core 2.3 GHz above is recommended for 1080 30p/60i recording.
• DirectX 9.0c compatible graphics card or higher
• 2GB free hard drive space for installation. 10+ GB free recommended for video recording.
• Windows Media Player 11 or higher
• Internet explorer 7 or 8
• Internet connection required for capture, live streaming, registration, product updates and tutorials.
• Internet upload speed for Live Streaming: 1.5 Mbps. 2.5 Mbps above is recommended
• 720p live stream requires at least 4.5 Mbps internet upload speed.
The system requirements are fairly modest for this device too, almost any modern pc or laptop from the last few years shouldn't have an issue running the capture software, although if you're thinking about streaming HD video, you may want to check how fast your internet connection really is as this is a very demanding task on your bandwidth.
It's a great little product and while I'm not a video editing master it doesn't take long to get it setup and start capturing a few seconds or a whole gaming session, the flexibility of being able to hit the record button at any time is very beneficial and its perfect from shaping those classic moments in multiplayer games. The screenshot feature is also most welcome and is perfect for people who review games or just love capturing funny, beautiful or creative images from their favourite games.
It's not the best capture device on the market, but its a great place for beginners as it packs a great bundle of features into a very respectable price bracket. There are devices that perform a little better but they do cost nearly twice as much.
The only downsides I found are that it lacks advanced streaming features beyond showing game footage, which isn't a major issue but for those that are looking for a more complex online streaming setup your best of with a more expensive solution and that 1080p can only be captures at 30FPS (720p @ 60FPS is fine though), although there is really little need for full 60FPS capture.
Overall a bit of a bargain and a real easy to use solution for those that want to get straight into the action and share their gaming experience with the wider gaming community.